Youth Development


Self-awareness is the ability to tune in to your own feelings, thoughts, and actions. It's also about recognizing that how you act affects yourself and others. Building self-awareness has the potential to increase postsecondary outcomes for students with disabilities.

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Being Self-Aware

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Ideally, being self-aware results in youth...

  • Explaining their wants and needs to others
  • Better understanding their strengths and abilities
  • Solving problems, setting goals, and accepting consequences
  • Increasing their trust in abilities, qualities and judgment
  • Strengthening their ability to speak up for what they need
  • Accepting differences and understanding the needs of others
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What is the importance of Self-Awareness? Let’s find out!

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How Can Adults Support Students Build Self-Awareness?

Adults can support the development of self-awareness in students with disabilities by utilizing evidence-based strategies including:

  • Teaching the students to lead their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings
  • Completing age-appropriate transition assessments
  • Engaging students in honest and respectful discussion about their self-determination
  • Assessment responses
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What Are Ways To Support The Development Of Self-Awareness Skills?

When adults use evidence-based practices to support the growth of self- awareness skills in students with disabilities, they should:

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Support the Student

Expect and support students to make many routine choices for themselves through the course of a school day.

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Teach the Student

Teach self-awareness strategies.

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Ensure Communication

Ensure all students have a functional communication system.

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Work Together

Work collaboratively with students to facilitate achievement of their goals.

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Want to Learn PA Secondary

Want to learn more?

Check out the Zarrow Center’s Me! Lessons.

A set of lessons for teaching self-awareness